The RIC Good Wood Guide

Choice of Materials for Sustainable Construction

(See also Ways to Make Your Home or Workplace More Energy-efficient, below)

Some Suggestions for a New Approach to Timber Use:

- Would a secondhand material suffice?
  • Use the lowest grade and smallest-sized pieces of timber appropriate for the job
  • - The common practice of ordering full lengths and then cutting them up into small pieces makes no environmental sense at all.
    - Put them aside and use them on the next job.
  • Use standard and utility appearance-grade timber, rather than select-grade
  • - Particularly if the surface is going to be painted or otherwise hidden.
    - This leads to increased wastage and downgrading of timber to lower-value applications.
  • Consider using furniture made from knotty, or 'feature-grade' timber
  • - It will not only be just as effective, more individual and visually interesting, it will also be cheaper!
    - Timber can be joined on its ends by finger-joints and metal nail-plates, or on its width, by glue-laminating.
  • Be aware that composite beams are more often than not stronger than timber
  • - They also use less timber in acquiring their strength than clear grade timber beams.
    - ie, by radial sawing, band-sawing, laser sawing, portable milling, etc.

    Ways to Make Your Home or Workplace More Energy-efficient

  • Close off the staircase from downstairs rooms to avoid upward heat loss.
  • Use a fuel-efficient wood burner (make sure the chimney/flue is sealed off from the room).
  • Use double glazing, low-E glass, or drapes - with pelmet designed to prevent convection movement adjacent to windows.
  • Use roof/wall/floor insulation.

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